New series aren’t always given strong starts, and I saw that today with the new Black Adam series by Paul Jenkins. Jenkins story has a tie in to the current run of Batman Superman, as we see Adam face off against an infected Shazam, as we saw in Chapter 1 of the Batman Superman issue.
Seeing the villain as a focus, but fighting a hero who has been corrupted, was a plotline that intrigued me to get the issue, unfortunately, the first issue fell flat in areas.
As a villain, Black Adam’s downfall was that he chose to protect his city over humanity as a whole. As the leader of Kahndaq, we see military officials discuss with Adam about the threat of Shazam coming to the city. They also bring up Bendis’s run of Event Leviathan along with Snyder’s Lex Luthor. After those nods to other current running series, we watch as Adam and Shazam spend most of the issue arguing about freedom and capitalism vs. living under a ruler. The issue felt like author Jenkins was more focused on listing pros and cons to living in the US compared to the Middle East. While in small doses, it could be interesting, the amount of time spent on this in the issue made me like it less.
Whereas the art and fight scenes were more entertaining than the writing. Inaki Miranda did a good job depicting an Egyptian and Middle East styled cityscape. Watching the two villains fight each other was especially fun when we see Shazam punch Adam out of the air in a half page spread that uses the panels above it to curve out and add to the angle at which Adam falls. Seeing that layout helped the scene to pop more.
Another aspect of this new series that I enjoyed was Hi-Fi’s coloring. Using the blues and reds in Shazam’s outfit and abilities to the militant colors of the army and sandy colors of the cityscape helped bring scenes together. The bluish hues to showcase Adam’s abilities at times added to the experience.
Unfortunately, due to the writing by Jenkins I can’t recommend picking up the first issue quite yet, as the series needs to get stronger if it is to be a worthwhile read. Spending too much time debating different countries ways of living amongst villains, and the anticlimactic way of defeating Shazam through prayer was not what I was expecting to get out of the series. I will pick up the next issue to see if it does get better but until then, this was a fairly average installment.